i miss summer gardens mish-mash post

January 17, 2011

There was quite a while last year that I went without posting, and during that time I really did have a few things that I’d wanted to share.  So why not throw some together now in one little mish-mash?

We’ll start with the garden at my parents this past summer.  Since we’re currently in the midst of a very snowy January, it’s easy to say I miss the lush green wonderfulness that comes every summer, along with the delicious bounty from the backyard.  This (past) year mom pushed the tomatoes out of the boxes and into their own section on the side of the yard, giving us more room for other fun things.  We started with plants that came from a local organic greenhouse owned by friends of the family.  I sucked at getting a lot of photos throughout the season, but in the end the backyard looked like a jungle.  We were collecting onions and squash well into the fall and pushing produce on neighbors and friends… (I think there may still even be onions sitting out on the porch).  At one point my parents went away and my mom asked that I try to pick things each day… so, naturally, I went out one night and grabbed all of this in one shot.  The best part about the backyard garden?  I know exactly what’s been put on the veggies (no pesticides), I know all about the soil they’ve grown in, and obviously they are about a fresh as you can possibly get.  I’ve said it before- there is definitely a feeling of success when you eat something you’ve helped grow.

Late in the summer my mom spent one weekend making tomato sauce- and I wanted to give it a shot too, so the next weekend we made another batch.

Disclaimer: We are not Italian.  Not one stinkin’ bit.  So, if you are, don’t judge.

I’m not sure precisely how my mom made her sauce… and it’s been so long since we made this second batch that I’ve really kinda forgotten the details on what we did for the second batch too… but some of the photos are pretty so we’ll see if they can tell us a story.

Here’s the breakdown: blanch tomatoes to remove skin; quarter(ish) tomatoes; cook those while sautéing carrots, celery and onions for mirepoix; strain and mush tomatoes through food mill to remove seeds and pulpy bits; combine resulting tomato sauce with mirepoix and desired seasonings; cook for a bit; eat and freeze leftovers.

Pretty much the lamest recipe I’ve ever shared, I know.  Too bad.

Since outside gardening is off-limits this time of year, I love (to try) to grow things indoors.  If it’s edible, even better.  I’ve struggled for a long time to get basil to last a winter inside, and I wish I had tried mint this year… but alas, I have neither.  So a coworker hooked me up with some of the necessaries to grow sprouts in my kitchen.  I’ve read about doing microgreens in dirt in your kitchen, or small crops of sprouts, but never gone about to trying it until now.  All you need to do this is a quart jar that has a pop-on top with a mesh screen (and seeds that you can purchase online somewhere… or make friends with a coworker that has a gallon jug of them at home and is willing to share).  It’s the easiest thing in the world- 2Tbsp of seeds soak over night, then rinse/drain a few times the next morning, following with rinses twice a day (morning and night).  End result is fresh sprouts in about 5 days that really do taste better than the ones you buy in the store.  The first time I grew these we had them on our salad at Thanksgiving.  I also took growing-progression photos… and for some reason thought angled shots were more visually interesting, (while in truth only making obvious my lack of photography skills).  Sorry.  (I’m really only sharing these photos for comedic effect.  Keep that in mind.)

I’ve since done a few jars of sprouts, with success each time.  I can’t think of a single thing I’ve ever done with a 100% success rate, so you can understand my desire to share.  I’ve not got much room for growing other edibles in my kitchen right now, so I think the sprouts will have to suffice till the weather warms.

Maybe I should go play in the snow and enjoy it a little before wishing it gone and springtime buds back on the trees…

  • Joy

    Makes me eager for the end of winter, digging in the dirt and trying the sauce again next summer. Mom

  • http://www.thatgirlkyle.com Kyle

    I think we should do some tomato canning this year too! That way we can use it for veggie beef soup and things, rather than buying cans from the store. ;)

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